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Percentage of advance voters increasing steadily

By The Mercury

Voters in Tuesday’s municipal and school board election continued a decade-long trend toward casting ballots prior to election day.

Of the 6,930 ballots cast in Riley County, 1,615 — 24.7 percent — were cast in advance of the opening of polls, the highest percentage ever for a municipal election here.

The percentage of all voters casting their ballots in advance has increased in every city-school board election since at least 2003, when 7.73 percent of the 6,251 participants voted early.

Polls this year were open from March 25 through April 1 for the April 2 election.

In the 2012 November presidential election, about 30 percent of all ballots were cast in advance in Riley County.

Overall turnout was down fractionally on Tuesday compared with the 2011 municipal election, when 6,956 ballots were cast county-wide. By far the recent high-water mark in participation in a municipal election occurred in 2005, when 11,892 county voters — about 34 percent of all registered voters — cast ballots.

Beyond the standard city and school board questions, a statewide constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage and civil union appears to have been the principal spur to voter interest that year.

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